May 27, 2015

Dear colleagues and friends:

The University of Illinois is a very special place for a host of reasons, but largely due to the excellence and commitment of its people—students, faculty and staff, alumni and friends. That central truth was reinforced for me last week, my first official week on the job, when I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet and talk with so many of you.

I saw first-hand your creativity and incisiveness of thought, your enthusiastic spirit, and your deep commitment to service. These were just a few of the many qualities that stood out to me as the three chancellors and I traveled to Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, Springfield, Rockford and Peoria to meet the U of I family and host town hall conversations about our collective future. Along the way, we met with students, faculty, staff, alumni, local mayors, the media, community and business leaders.

Please accept my thanks to those who participated, followed on video-stream, and helped to plan and execute the week’s exciting 450-mile journey to five campuses. The experience reminded me why I’m so optimistic about the University’s future.

As I mentioned at all stops—and there are more visits in the works—this is just the start of a deep engagement that I believe will provide profound insights and will serve to develop new connections and collaborations across our University.

The conversation hasn’t ended, however, so please feel free to provide your thoughts, suggestions and comments using an online form. There will be many opportunities for further discussion when we kick off a University strategic planning process in June that will wrap up next March.

On Tuesday, I returned to the Capitol in Springfield to convene a meeting with presidents and board chairs from all the other public universities in Illinois to unite our voices in advocating for a robust level of state funding for public higher education and to restate our mutual commitment to responsible public service. Investing in public universities is an investment in solutions—and in the future of our state.

Thank you for your welcome to me as your new president and thank you—most sincerely—for all you do every day to foster the great mission of the University of Illinois.

Timothy L. Killeen